With Christmas on the horizon it's time to name and shame the least generous charity cards. "With no legislation to control the amount going to charity, companies can give as little as 1%... and still label the card as a charity card," says Hilary Blume of the Charities Advisory Trust in The Guardian. Cards Galore has been given the Trust's Scrooge Award. Of 116 charity cards stocked by the chain, 75 give less than 10% to charity.
If you want to make sure your money is going to good causes, buy your cards direct from a charity or purchase them from Card Aid. It produces Christmas cards for charities to sell direct. A healthy 35%-60% of the price goes to charity.
Most of us need to build up our savings. So take a look at First Direct's Regular Saver account. Savers can pay in between £25 and £300 a month and earn 8% interest for the first year. That is a great rate (given the Bank of England rate is just 0.5%), making this account a decent place to start building a rainy day fund. Just make sure you move the money after a year, as the introductory interest rate will then drop considerably your money will be switched into an eSaver account, which is currently paying 0.25%. A drawback to this account is that you need to have a First Direct current account to open it. But given that First Direct are offering £100 to anyone who switches to their current account, what's not to like? You might as well bag a better current account and a great regular savings account together.
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Within five years, the number of pensioners with mortgages will rise to over one million. At present, 250,000 people over 65 are still repaying their mortgages. "While most of us hope to pay our mortgage off long before we retire, an increasing number of home owners simply can't afford to," says Melanie Bien of mortgage broker Private Finance in The Daily Telegraph.
"Instead, they are continuing with their mortgage well into retirement, using their bricks and mortar to raise cash to live on, and to help their children and grandchildren with their own property purchases." This creates a dangerous situation for those who draw too much money. Anyone on a fixed income could be left struggling to find the cash for their bigger mortgages if interest rates start to rise.
Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.
Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.
Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.
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